Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Decorah to Gays Mills, WI

Decorah to Gays Mills, WI
We did more exploring yesterday to confirm some locations that we want to tour this fall with our group. For starters, Sandy took me to a business deep in the hills (3 miles of hilly gravel) just south of Burr Oak. The business sells perennials for landscaping. Sandy was going ough and ahh all the time while we were there. My observation was that the hill side had the blackest loam soil I've seen on such a steep hillside. Also, a lot of time has gone into hoeing around a lot of "stuff". (Gene's opinion.)
Our next stop was a business called "Seed Savers". Their goal in life is to preserve the original genitics of our food chain sources. It is unreal how many varities of onions or potatos or garlic there are. The typical number is in the hundreds. I seem to recall that they have over 700 varities of apple trees also growing. These are unique source varities, not hybrids etc.

We also drove around more of the streets in Decorah and learned that not all of the streets are level. Some of the streets are down right challenging and it makes one wonder how they survive during the winter. I guess they could load the street with sand and in the spring just gather it back up at the bottom of the hill for the next season. I guess I've become a real flat-lander and especially if road conditions are not the best.
It was moving day again and all went well. But 20 miles into the day, we found a laundromat and so we had to stop in Waukon, IA. It is a little community that seems to get its name in the paper quite often. They have a nice city campground that we explored once and decided that it was just a bit too hilly. The uptown streets are not especially wide either. The laundromat was not rated a number one, but as long as you didn't drop the clothes on the floor, they came out pretty well. The other good news was that they had a decent service station and we decided that it would be wise to top off the tank before crossing the river into Wisconsin, where they add an extra 10 to 15 cents on to the price of fuel for the governor. Now without another fuel stop, we can slip back into Iowa without fueling up again.
We arrived at Gays Mills at noon and found a spot in the city park campground. There is room for 12 rigs and we're number two. Our first surprise was that the camping rate has doubled since our last visit from $7 to $15 a night. For that we're parked on grass (?) with a weak 20 Amp circuit. Depending upon your opinion, we're either blessed with lots of geese to watch or its a pain to pick your way to avoid tracking anything in. (We always remove our shoes, here and elsewhere.) Geese eat a lot of grass and one has to wonder about their digestive system. It appears to be a high speed processing system and they leave suitable deposits as they go.
In the PM we headed out to located an apple grower that might be willing to spend some time with our group this fall. Our guess is that if we go to a specific grower retailer for a show and tell, the group will buy their apples from him. (I suspect that he will be well rewarded.) One thing that really impressed me was the size of the new apple trees. On our farm, the trees are 20 to 25 feet tall, and of course the best apples are always on the top. Here in the new orchards, the trees are only about 6 or 8 feet and loaded with apples. (No need for a step ladder here.) We did find a grower store that we think will help us out. The bookkeeper was there and gave us the information to contact the grower. She indicated that he does it quite often for tour buses.
Back in Gays Mills, we went exploring at the fairgrounds, which is the overflow campground. A well attended ballgame was in progress so we didn't find much in the way of outlets. We went back after dinner when everyone had cleared out and located the electrical outlets in the picnic shelters. Not exactly what we'd like, but they will work. We were also very impressed with the cleanliness of the grounds, with all of the garbage picked up and in a 100 gallon barrel. That takes civic pride to have the teams do a clean up before they leave after the game.
While we're inside of the rig, the lawn-mowing geese have been busy outside along the river. I just counted 45 of the, mostly young goslings, and they seem to know that they must keep their head down and eat as much and as fast as they can!

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